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In scholarly writing, we are continually engaged with other people’s ideas: we read them in texts, hear them in lecture, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into our own writing. Acknowledging those authors' ideas and showing where you found them is an important element of scholarly writing.
Cite your sources to:
make your arguments more credible
show you've done your homework (i.e. your research)
build a foundation for your argument
allow your readers to find the sources for themselves
Plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.
To avoid plagiarism you must give credit whenever you use:
another person’s idea, opinion, or theory;
any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge;
quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words; or
paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.